With over 2,400 birds dead so far in Himachal Pradesh, the state has been put on high alert for avian influenza and officials are monitoring the situation according to state forest minister Rakesh Pathania.
"As many as 2,403 birds have died so far. We expect that this number will grow. We are on high alert and monitoring the situation very carefully," Pathania told ANI.
Hundreds of winter migratory birds including bar-headed goose along with river tern, brown-headed gull, and cormorants were found dead in and around the Pong Dam Sanctuary area.
Forest officials first noticed the bird deaths in December end and the range forest officer of Nagrota-Surian in a letter on December 31 reported a total of 141 winter migratory birds were found dead in Pong Dam Lake Sanctuary in Nagrota-Surian wildlife range. The letter also reported that in Jawali Beat area of the range, 29 migratory birds were found dead while in the Bhatoli Phakorian area, 7 Bar Headed Goose were found dead
The state's agriculture minister Virender Kanwar said that poultry samples are being collected from different parts of the state and have been sent for testing for bird flu.
"119 samples of poultry have been sent to a lab in Jalandhar for the test. We are collecting poultry samples from different parts of the state," said Kanwar.
The Kangra District Magistrate issued order, completely prohibiting sale/purchase/export of any poultry/birds/fish of any breed/age and their related products (eggs, meat, chicken etc) in Fatehpur, Dehra, Jawali and Indora areas of Kangra.
Apart from Himachal Pradesh, four other states have reported avian deaths. Kerala issued a high alert against bird flu on Tuesday after declaring bird-flu as a state-specific disaster after outbreak of the virus was confirmed in certain parts of Kottayam and Alappuzha districts.
Kerala Minister for Forest, Animal husbandry and Dairy development K Raju had confirmed that that about 12,000 ducks had died and around 40,000 birds will be culled in the region where bird flu has been reported.
Madhya Pradesh has also sounded an alert after after nearly 400 crows were found dead in 10 districts, including Indore.
Between December 23 and January 3, 142 crows died in Indore, 100 in Mandsaur, 112 in Agar Malwa and 13 crows died in Khargone districts. In Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur, officials said that around 100 crows died in the city between December 23 and January 3.
Bird flu has been detected in four samples of dead crows sent to the state lab, according to an official at the Animal Husbandry Department, Mandsaur, where he said around 100 crows died between December 23 and January 3.
Rajasthan has established a state-level control room to monitor the avian influenza situation and the state has also sounded an alert. More than 50 birds were found dead in the Baran district of Rajasthan on Tuesday. The state administration has issued high alert in Kota and Jhalawar districts too.